Ski Area Promoter, Marketing Exec

Passing Date: 
Sunday, January 11, 2015

Alexander “Buzz” Bainbridge passed away in his sleep Sunday morning, Jan. 11, 2015 at the age of 93.

Buzz grew up in Minneapolis, where he was a high school skiing champion, then captain of the University of Minnesota Ski Team and Central U.S. Intercollegiate Slalom Champion. During World War II he became a Naval officer and fought in every theatre; he helped to land the 10th Mountain Division in Italy.

After the war, Buzz went to work as a sales rep for Northland skis, covering the Rocky Mountain territory. In 1946 Buzz and his wife Jean were asked by New Mexico skiing pioneer Bob Nordhaus to manage two rope tow areas near Santa Fe. They then managed La Madera, now called Ski Sandia. Buzz returned to the Navy for the Korean War, then assumed management of the new Santa Fe Ski Basin.

At Santa Fe, Buzz pioneered new marketing techniques, launching 27 ski clubs across Texas and Oklahoma. He designed and built Red River ski resort, and helped found Sierra Blanca (now Ski Apache). Meanwhile he founded some college ski programs and served as regional director of the National Ski Patrol.

Beginning in 1960, Buzz and Jean owned and operated Arizona Snow Bowl. After a snow drought, in 1963 they moved to Aspen where Buzz managed Buttermilk Mountain and became marketing manager for the Aspen Skiing Co. He launched his own construction company, and helped to found the marketing organization Ski the Rockies.

After five years as vice president at Jackson Hole, Buzz began building luxury adobe homes in Santa Fe. He helped to found Ski New Mexico and served as director of tourism for the State of New Mexico.

Buzz is survived by his wife, Jean; children Buzz, Steve and Andrea; 5 grandchildren, and 3 great grandchildren. (Condensed from a biography of Buzz by Bob Parker, appearing in the July-August 2011 issue of Skiing Heritage)

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